What Use Is Literature to Political Philosophy?: Or The Funny Thing about Socrates's Nose

Philosophy and Literature 39 (2):322-337 (2015)
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Like Leo Strauss and Karl Popper, most readers take it that one cannot have a political reading of the Republic at all, except by interest in Plato’s attitude toward the proposals developed by Socrates and his interlocutors. But this is not true. I do not mean that it is a good idea to cultivate apathy concerning Plato’s attitudes to sexual equality, private property, food, war, and so on. I mean that there is this possibility mentioned by Stanley Rosen, that “Plato speaks in the story he tells, not in the arguments he assigns to his dramatis personae.”1 That possibility, more usually deployed against Popper, might also worry Strauss. For it is not obvious that treating Socrates as Plato’s satirical voice is any..



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